For the year 2018, the NetApp Faculty Fellowship (NFF) has been awarded to Prof. Vijay Kumar of IISc Bangalore, to support research in private information retrieval and coded computation to enhance security in the age of Cloud Computing; to Prof. Bivas Mitra of IIT Kharagpur, for research on Machine Learning (ML) based model development for storage system troubleshooting and workload characterization; and Prof. Subhajit Sidhanta of IIT Jodhpur has been granted the NetApp Student Fellowship (NSF) to investigate the trade-off in performance and consistency for widely distributed systems used in IoT and Fog computing.
NetApp’s fellowship program has granted 31 such research partnerships with IP (Intellectual Property) free grants up to USD 20,000 over the last 10 years in India. These partnerships open the door for NetApp’s data management technologies, experience, equipment and lab to be shared with academia, paving the road for research with far-reaching consequences for management and security of data, the foundation of today’s digital transformation. This program has ties with several top technology institutes including the IITs, IISc, Anna University and ISI Kolkata.
Pointing to the true value of industry academia relationships, Deepak Visweswaraiah, Senior VP and MD, NetApp, said, “Through the fellowships, NetApp encourages leading-edge research in storage and data management, and seeks to foster relationships between academic researchers and our technical community. What’s more is that the grants come with no strings attached, and we don’t claim any IP from the research, allowing for open technology propagation. We work on cutting-edge technologies in order to stay relevant in the changing technology landscape and be able to provide future-proof solutions. And the results are showing.”
The program offers recipients, opportunities to conduct research in areas of mutual interest to identify and explore trends such as ML, IoT, AI, Blockchain, Data Lakes, Data Analytics and Cyber Security. The grants also prepare students for jobs in the space of advanced technology as it allows them to apply their research to relevant industry problems under the guidance of supervising professors at top institutes in the country.
Talking about the program, Professor Vijay Kumar from IISc said: “The best research is done when you are working on something which has some practical relevance apart from theoretical interest. What this partnership with NetApp has allowed us to do is to bridge this gap, because by talking to companies, we get a sense of what the data industry is looking for. NetApp has been a huge enabler in this over the years.”
“Through our fellowships program, we aim to create an innovation ecosystem including some of the best scientific and engineering minds in the country. We want to leverage the program to translate research into real-world applications. For instance, people associate Machine Learning with image recognition, self-driving cars, and expert-like machines in games. NetApp has worked with professors from IIT Kharagpur to conduct research on unique capabilities of managing complex systems deployed in cloud computing through ML, thus opening further research areas in the process,” echoed Siddhartha Nandi, Director, Advanced Technology Group, NetApp, and leader of this program.
For example, ISI Kolkata’s Prof. Sushmita Ruj, an NFF recipient, works with NetApp to develop efficient and privacy-preserved data auditing schemes that can help a user keep a tab on the reliability of their data stored in multiple clouds. Cloud security is one of the most talked about topics as data-sensitivity concerns grow with massive cloud adoption. This, and many other such areas of impactful technology research are the cornerstones of this program- leveraging the power of data to transform lives and businesses.